Six years ago when I started working as the Project Coordinator at a children’s play organisation in London we didn’t make any formal provision for disabled children.
A year and a half later we started our Inclusion Project, with Leftwing Idiot leading a team of specialist workers to improve access for disabled children across all three of our sites. When the project started he did an access audit and one of the biggest needs he identified was for better toilet provision for disabled people.
We had accessible toilets but none were big enough for a changing table and hoist. This meant that disabled children with more complex toileting needs couldn’t stay and play for very long.
What we needed was a toilet that met Mencap’s Changing Place standard. But we had no spare space to install one, so as well as fundraising for the equipment, we needed to raise the money for a building too. Leftwing Idiot found a supplier who could provide our dream loo and its building as a single unit, the only drawback being that it would cost over £60,000. So the campaign began.
Four years later, and the big day’s finally here. Happy High-Dependency-Toilet-Arrival Day to one and all! Early this morning the unit was craned into position, plumbed in, wired up, and ready for action.
To most people it’ll be just a portacabin with a roomy loo. To me it’s a thing of unimaginable beauty because its arrival means that more children will be able to access our playground. They’ll be able to stay longer, and that means more time to make friends, learn new skills, and build positive memories.
I love our new loo and this afternoon I celebrated its arrival by having a wee in it.
In just over a week’s time I’ll be moving on from my job as Project Coordinator here, and Leftwing Idiot’s doing the same so that we can both dedicate more time to Touretteshero. It’s a big move and one I feel both excited and sad about.
I’m proud of what we’ve all achieved in the last six years, but I think the biggest mark Leftwing Idiot and I will leave on the organisation is loo shaped.